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KARACHI: PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s mission to unite all factions of the Pakistan Muslim League failed as he was unable to convince the PML-F leadership that he enjoyed support of Punjab-based factions.

Chaudhry Shujaat met PML-F chief Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, popularly known as Pir Pagara, at the latter’s residence here on Wednesday.

According to sources, during the meeting the PML-Q leader was asked if he had mustered support of any faction of the party in Punjab.

He was told that if all Punjab-based Muslim Lea­gue factions joined hands, the PML-F was prepared to follow suit because the factionalism had been caused due to the politics of PML groups in that province.

PML-F wants to wait till Punjab-based groups join hands

“We are after all small federating units and like to follow the PML leadership in Punjab,” Chaudhry Shujaat was told by the leadership of the PML-F, which is based in Sindh.

The PML-Q leadership was told that except the PML-F there was no other Muslim League faction in Sindh which could face the PPP and give it a tough time.

Chaudhry Shujaat said that he had come to seek support of the PML-F before making efforts to bring other factions together.

After the meeting, Chaudhry Shujaat’s body language suggested that he was not expecting such a response from the PML-F leadership, the sources said.

Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, an estranged leader of the PML-N, PML-Q secretary general Tariq Basheer Cheema, Sindh PML-F president Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashdi and general secretary Sardar Raheem, among others, attended the meeting.

Briefing the media after the meeting, the PML-Q leaders, however, appeared quite optimistic that contrary to past experiences of bringing all factions of Muslim League under one flag, this time their efforts would bear fruit.

During the meeting, they said, a four-member committee — comprising Chaudhry Pervez Ellahi, Ghuas Ali Shah, Tariq Cheema and Sardar Raheem — was formed to contact leaders of different PML factions to advance the unification process.

Asked if he would also contact PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to invite him to join the unified Muslim League, Chaudhry Shujaat said that he had not come to Karachi to talk against anyone but to extend invitation only to those Muslim Leaguers who had a clean slate.

He said the committee would contact all those Muslim Leaguers who had joined the PPP or any other party as it was high time they returned to their mother party.

In reply to another question, he said that many people belonging to the PML-N and the PPP were in contact with them and “want to join us when the time would come”.

He said he had no contact with former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

In response to a question about the chances of entering into an election alliance with the PPP, he said that such alliances were made at the time of polls.

Ghaus Ali Shah recalled that attempts had also been made in the past to unite all PML factions as all Muslim Leaguers were supporters of the federation and wanted to see a strong Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2017